Syria: UN suspends all aid deliveries after convoy hit by air-strike

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The UN has suspended all aid deliveries in Syria after a convoy of its lorries were hit by an air strike near Aleppo on Monday.

The convoy had received the proper permits from all warring parties in the conflict, and the US, Russia, and the Assad regime had all been notified of the route and timings.

The attack at Urum al-Kubra came just hours after the Syrian army declared a end to a fragile US-Russian truce and launched an intensive aerial bombardment of rebel-held areas in Aleppo, which left 34 people dead.

Out of a convoy of 31 lorries carrying wheat, clothes, and medical supplies, 18 were completely destroyed in the attack. The convoy was supposed to provide food to 78,000 people.

Early reports say a regime helicopter dropped four bombs on warehouses of the Syrian red Crescent just as the convoy arrived.

The Assad regime has not admitted responsibility for the attack.

The head of the Syrian Red Crescent aid agency in Aleppo, Omar Barakat, is reported to have died in the attack, alongside a eleven other civilians trying to deliver aid to the people still living in the besieged city.

Staffan de Mistura, UN special representative on Syria, said the organisations “outrage at this attack is enormous” and reiterated that the convoy “was the outcome of a long process of permission and preparations to assist isolated civilians.”

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien said he was “disgusted and horrified by the news” and called for an immediate investigation into the possible war crime.

He said:

“Let me be clear: If this callous attack is found to be a deliberate targeting of humanitarians, it would amount to a war crime. I call for an immediate, impartial and independent investigation into this deadly incident. The perpetrators should know that they will one day be held accountable for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, described the attack as a “flagrant violation of international humanitarian law”.

The US expressed “outrage” at the attack and said it will “reassess the future prospects for co-operation” with Russia, an ally of Syria’s government, after the strikes.

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